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Utah Travel Headlines

Friday, April 30, 2010

2 Major Hollywood Films Are Being Shot in Utah

Utah's other-worldly desertscape has often stood in for alien landscape, and that will be the case again with the filming of John Carter of Mars, based on the Edgar Rice Burroughs adventure novels. It will be shot in the Monument Valley area and will be the largest movie production to date in Utah.

The Salt Lake Tribune tells the story in this article, with this headline: Hollywood returns to Utah – again. Below are excerpts.

When Disney's location manager was scouting in the Four Corners area, he took some photos of Utah. "They kept saying, 'Is this New Mexico?' He'd say, 'No, it's Utah,'" Moore said. "All the locations they really loved were all coming from Utah."

Disney was also impressed that Lockheed Martin, the maker of the Phoenix Mars Lander, shot an in-house video in the Mars-like landscape near Hanksville, Utah. "Once they set foot in Utah, all of a sudden it became evident that Utah was the place," Moore said.

"John Carter of Mars" isn't the only major film production in Utah this month. "Slumdog Millionaire" director Danny Boyle is making "127 Hours," which tells the story of rock climber Aron Ralston and his struggle when his arm was pinned by a boulder for five days. The movie, which stars James Franco ("Spider-Man," "Pineapple Express") as Ralston, is filming in southern Utah and in a Salt Lake City warehouse -- where set designers have built a reproduction of the slot canyon where Ralston was trapped.

Boyle's movie wasn't a lock for Utah, Moore said, even though Ralston's ordeal happened here and Boyle made his first American movie, "A Life Less Ordinary," here. Producers were considering Arizona and New Mexico, but Utah's 20 percent incentive was enough to lure the film here. ("127 Hours" is projected to get $2.8 million in tax credits, after putting nearly $14 million into Utah's economy, hiring 151 people for 40 days.)

Other states offer bigger incentives than Utah's 20 percent. Michigan now tops the charts with a 40 percent tax credit, and other states offer up to 30 percent.

Moore makes the pitch that Utah has what those other states don't: two equipment-rental houses, 800 crew members, varied locations an hour's drive from the airport, and all a 90-minute flight from Hollywood.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Ford Ironman Race Brings Thousands To St George

As many as 10,000 visitors may be in St George this weekend participating the the Ford Ironman race. The race itself will take place on Saturday, over a course that is described as one of the most challenging ever. Participants will swim 2.4 miles, bike 112 miles and run 26.2 miles.

The race is a massive affair that is expected to pump more than $7 million into the local economy. Motels in the St George area will be full. There will be traffic congestion at times near race venues.

The Ironman St George website has details about the events.

The Salt Lake Tribune has this article giving perspective. Below are excerpts.

"We expect hundreds of runners and riders on area streets with the athletes getting familiar with the race sites," said (Assistant City Manager Marc) Mortensen, adding signs are already in place to inform the public of travel restrictions on the day of the event.

Kevin Lewis, director of sports and events for the St. George Convention and Tourism Bureau, who has been involved in bringing the event to the city for two years, has traveled to several other Ironman cities. "We've done our research to see what Ironman meant to other cities and figure it is a perfect fit here, an ideal location that will showcase the area as never before," he said.

He expects visitors to stay several days and noted that the city has already benefitted from the event.

"Ever since the Christmas holiday people have been coming here and riding and checking things out," he said. "I met a couple from Canada that has been here since the first of April. We hope after the event the athletes will come back with family and friends."

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Utah Valley Launches Hole in One Golf Promotion

Utah's golf courses are open and in great shape, now that spring days are getting longer and people are turning to outdoor activities. Public courses in the Provo/Utah Valley area are participating in a promotion offering great rates and a 30-day advance tee time registration.

Details can be found in the press release below, which was provided by the Utah Valley Convention and Visitors Bureau.

ParPass Provides Access to 11 Premier Golf Courses Throughout Utah Valley

PROVO, Utah, April 27 /PRNewswire/ -- The Utah Valley Convention and Visitors Bureau today announced the launch of its 2010 ParPass golf promotion package. The ParPass allows Utah Valley visitors to tee off at 11 premier public golf courses at a price many golfers won't be able to refuse.

The 2010 ParPass gives golfers access to all 11 public golf courses in Utah Valley, including Thanksgiving Point Golf Club, designed by Johnny Miller, and TalonsCove at Saratoga Springs, which hosted the 2005 and 2006 Utah Open. The ParPass offers up to a 30-day advance tee time, 18 holes of play, golf cart rental, discount on club rentals and small bucket of balls.

"From Payson to the Point of the Mountain, Utah Valley provides a rich array of links-style, mountain and championship golf courses," said Joel Racker, President and CEO of Utah Valley Convention and Visitors Bureau. "Our 2010 ParPass provides an opportunity for visitors to come stay in local hotels and play golf at any of our incredible courses for a value packaged rate. The ParPass is an enjoyable option for weekend getaways, business gatherings, family vacations and many more occasions."

Utah Valley golf courses participating in the ParPass package include Cascade Golf Center, Cedar Hills Golf Club, Fox Hollow Golf Course, Gladstan Golf Course, Hobble Creek Golf Course, Spanish Oaks Golf Course, TalonsCove at Saratoga Springs, Thanksgiving Point Golf Club, The Links at Sleepy Ridge, The Ranches Golf Club and The Reserve at East Bay.

Golf attractions add to Utah Valley's list of exceptional outdoor offerings. "Utahns are well aware of the tremendous impact skiing has had on the state's economy throughout the years," said Jeff Robins, President and CEO of Utah Sports Commission. "We feel the quality and affordability of golf in Utah is something that will attract players from across the country."

The ParPass can be purchased at hotels and resorts throughout Utah Valley, online at UVCVB's website, online at the state of Utah's official golf website, or at the UVCVB Visitor Center in Provo. Once purchased, the ParPass is not refundable.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Grand Canyon North Rim to Open May 15

The National Park Service has announced that Grand Canyon North Rim facilities will open on May 15. The canyon's South Rim is open year-round. The North Rim is about 1000 feet higher than the South Rim. It receives considerably more snow and so visitor facilities close every winter.

Access to the North Rim is via Hwy 67, which forks from Hwy 89A abut 35 miles south of the town of Kanab, Utah.

The park service provided the news release below:

Grand Canyon's North Rim to Open May 15 for the 2010 Summer Season

Date: April 27, 2010
Contact: Shannan Marcak, 928-638-7958
Contact: Robin Tellis, 928-638-7739

Grand Canyon, AZ – The Arizona Department of Transportation will open Highway 67 to the North Rim of Grand Canyon National Park on Saturday, May 15 by 7:00 a.m.; and Grand Canyon Lodge North Rim, a Forever Resorts property, and Grand Canyon Trail Rides will commence their 2010 seasonal operations.

Grand Canyon Lodge North Rim operations include lodging, groceries, camper services, food services and a service station. All concessioner facilities will open at 10:00 a.m. with the exception of the dining room which will open at 11:30 a.m. for lunch. Lodge check-in will begin at 4:00 p.m.

All services provided by the National Park Service, including the Visitor Center, backcountry permitting office, and campground, as well as the Grand Canyon Association bookstore will be available on May 15th at 8:00 a.m. The first scheduled ranger program, Grand Canyon Geology, will be on the back porch of the Grand Canyon Lodge at 3:00 p.m. The first evening program will be on May 15, at 8:00 p.m. in the Auditorium. All ranger programs will be listed in “The Guide” (North Rim: 2010 Season), a free publication distributed at the North Entrance Station, the North Rim Visitor Center, other contact stations in the park and online at once it is available.

The last day for most concessioner services and regularly scheduled ranger-led programs will be October 15, 2010. The National Park Service will continue its operations including the North Rim Visitor Center and Bookstore, as well as the Backcountry Permits Office through November 28, unless snow closes Highway 67 prior to that date. In addition, campsites with limited services such as portable toilets will be available on a first-come, first-served basis and Forever Resorts will keep their gift shop and gas station open during this shoulder season.

The North Rim lies at the southern end of the Kaibab Plateau at approximately 8,500 feet in elevation, and offers spectacular canyon views. It is approximately a 215-mile drive from the South Rim. Points of interest include Point Imperial, Cape Royal, Point Sublime, North Kaibab Trail, and Bright Angel Point.

Advance overnight lodging reservations for North Rim facilities may be made by contacting Forever Resorts at (877) 386-4383 or by visiting their website at For advance reservations from outside of the United States, please call (480) 998-1981. Advance reservations for the North Rim Campground must be made by calling 877-444-6777 or online at For information on Grand Canyon Trail Rides please call (435) 679-8665 or visit their website at

For a copy of the park’s free Trip Planner please call 928-638-7888 or write, Trip Planner, Grand Canyon National Park, P.O. Box 129, Grand Canyon, AZ 86023. The Trip Planner is also available on the Internet at “The Guide” for the North Rim will be available on-line by May 15.


Monday, April 26, 2010

Great Salt Lake Bird Festival Will Run May 13-17

The Great Salt Lake Bird Festival is one of the most popular birding events in the region, attracting a large number of bird enthusiasts and outdoor recreation lovers. It is held annually, with activities at various locations in Davis County, on Antelope Island and around the Great Salt Lake.

The festival provided the information below.

The 12th Annual Great Salt Lake Bird Festival has announces that acclaimed author Terry Tempest Williams will be the Keynote Speaker on Saturday, May 15th. Registration for Great Salt Lake Bird Festival programs is now open - on-line or by calling 801-451-3286.

Bill Fenimore, the 2008 American Birding Association Ludlow Griscom Award-winner for Outstanding Contributions in Regional Ornithology will present on Friday, May 14th.
On Saturday, May 15th we are pleased to again welcome Joy Bossi host of Joy in the Garden on 570 KNRS as a workshop presenter at 1 PM.

The Festival is also offering several ‘Behind-the-Gates’ and other new field trips to exciting birding areas in northern Utah. The Bike and Bird trip on the Legacy Parkway Trail and a Backyard Pond Tour in partnership with The Utah Water Garden Club were very successful last year and will be repeated this year. A highlight of the Festival is the opportunity to go ‘Behind-the-Gates’ at Bear River Migratory Bird Refuge, Farmington Bay, and Ambassador Duck Club. Each field trip has an experienced guide.

New this year is Birds and Beers-Utah Edition Friday, May 14th at 7:30 pm at Roosters Brewing Company at 748 Heritage Park Blvd in Layton, UT. Join Sharon Stiteler of and other festival attendees to talk about birds.

There are many opportunities for youth to be involved with birds, crafts, and art at the Festival. The Festival and partners are sponsoring a student art contest. Art entries can be submitted on or before April 1, 2010 to Davis County Memorial Courthouse, 28 East State Room 221 in Farmington or Bear River Bird Refuge in Brigham City . Ogden Nature Center , Wildlife Rehabilitation Center , HawkWatch International, and SkyMasters will be talking about their live birds. Home Depot, Centerville, is sponsoring a bird house craft activity. Saturday, May 15th, will have many activities for youth along with artists and vendors, field trips and workshops.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Utah Fossil Dig and Gemstone Hunt

A New York Company, DINOSAURS ROCK, is offering a 3-day “Family Fossil Dig and Gemstone Hunt in Central Utah.” The trip is described as educational and is being promoted in NY, NJ, CT area and CA.

The company has this news release about the trip. Dinosaur hunting and rock hounding are popular activities in Utah and we offer some of the world's best sites for scientific study and recreational use. While we don't endorse or oppose this trip, we are concerned that some info in the news release may lead to misinformation. See the press release excerpts below and then our comments.

This private tour with Neil Brown and Leslie Freund, DINOSAURS ROCK husband and wife co-founders, plus expert local geologists, is a unique opportunity to have participants find and take home real Dinosaur Bone, Trilobites, Topaz and Geodes, while learning about paleontology, mineralogy and geology.

We ran our debut dig in '08. It was so much fun that we're doing it again. It's summer family travel that's educational, for kids 5-15," said Neil Brown, co-founder of DINOSAURS ROCK, the NY-based educational events company. "Unlike super-expensive university digs, everyone is guaranteed to find real specimens," added Brown.

Current itinerary includes a prehistoric journey to dig for 65-million-year-old Dinosaur Bone, Trilobite (500-million-year-old sea bugs) Excavation from a shale quarry, a Topaz Gemstone Hunt and excavating dazzling crystal-filled Dugway Geodes. Other possible finds include agates, jasper, brachiopods (fossil clams) and ammonites.

The tour includes three days of informational talks, fun DINOSAURS ROCK fossil and mineral raffles and giveaways, and guided tours with fossil and mineral experts on privately owned land where hands-on exploration takes place through fossil digs and gemstone hunts, plus daily picnic boxed lunches. Each participant is guaranteed to find lots of valuable genuine take-home fossils and minerals. A giant box of each family's fossil and mineral finds gets shipped home.

The press release says the tour will focus on privately owned land, but the itinerary suggests it will extend onto public land where specific rules govern rock hounding and fossil collection. See our web page for more info on these rules. Below are excerpts.

In general, a person may collect reasonable amounts of gemstones and rocks from public lands for recreational purposes or personal use. If rocks and mineral specimens are collected for sale or commercial use, a permit must be obtained (under provisions of the Minerals Act), from the BLM Field Office involved. In Utah's West Desert, for instance, administered by the BLM's Richfield Office, Utah's rare Topaz Gemstone can be found, and in the BLM's Salt Lake District, the popular Dugway Geode can be collected, both in "reasonable amounts for recreational purposes or personal use" without obtaining any special permission.

Invertebrate fossils are those without backbones I.E., trilobites, snails, clams, insects, etc. Common invertebrate fossils (those which occur in large numbers throughout a large area) may be collected in reasonable quantities for recreational purposes. Again, no permit is required unless invertebrate fossils are intended for sale or commercial use.

Vertebrate fossils are those with backbones. Vertebrate fossils, such as dinosaurs, turtles, mammals and fish, cannot be collected from public lands except by permit only! These permits are issued by the Secretary of the Interior specifically to properly accredited museums, universities and other institutions or their representatives.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Earth Day Activities Around Utah

Earth Day events will be held today in Salt Lake City and at various locations around Utah, and more events will take place Saturday. Most Utah national parks have events scheduled. The Deseret News has this article about activities. Below are excerpts.

Art exhibits, coloring contests for children, rock concerts for adults and a variety of other events are planned this week in conjunction with the 40th annual Earth Day on April 22.

The "Recycling the Basics" art exhibit will run through Saturday on the patio of Squatters, 147 W. Broadway, in Salt Lake City, featuring work by students.

Westminster's Earth Day on Wednesday will include live music, a plant sale, electronics recycling, Westminster Wheels program and a variety of other green events, including a tour of the Sarah House, an eco-friendly, completely minimalist dwelling created by Utahn Jeff White.

An electronic recycling event is scheduled from 7:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Thursday at the parking lot of the Turpin University Services building just west of the Huntsman Center on the University of Utah campus. Residents are encouraged to dispose of old television sets, computers, cell phones and other equipment.

On Saturday, area residents can participate in the "Bend in the River Earth Day Event," with registration and breakfast kicking off between 8:30 and 9 a.m. at 1050 W. Fremont Ave.

The event, sponsored by Salt Lake City, the Lowell Bennion Center at the U. and REI, an outdoor/recreational gear store, will include remarks by Salt Lake City Mayor Ralph Becker. Afterward, participants can take educational tours or plant seedlings in the "environmental stewardship" aspect of the event.

Saturday also will offer an opportunity for residents in various parts of the state to unload unwanted medications in a safe, legal manner.

Farther south, Zion National Park has teamed up with the community of Springdale for its sixth annual Earth Day celebration. In addition to live music and a farmer's market, numerous vendors and activities will demonstrate the latest in alternative energy, such as solar ovens and other "Leave No Trace" principles. The noon to 6 p.m. Saturday event is at the lawn of the Bit & Spur Restaurant. All proceeds support the town's efforts to convert all public facilities to solar power.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

2009-2010 Ski Numbers Show Improvement

Park City businesses say the ski season just ending was substantially better than the 2008-2009 season. Final numbers are not yet in but all indicators suggest this was a pretty good season at Utah's resorts.

Snowbird is still open, with plans to keep some lifts going through Memorial Day weekend (conditions permitting). Alta is closed, but will reopen lifts for the weekend of April 23-25. Other resorts are now closed.

The Salt Lake Tribune has this article that looks at how Park City area businesses fared during the season. Below are excerpts.

In the aftermath of 2008's financial collapse, gross sales tax receipts for the subsequent ski season sank about 20 percent. It's a time nobody wants to remember.

But as waiters and maids, bartenders and lift attendants head out for spring break this year, estimates have merchants, restaurateurs, and hoteliers hopeful that the worst may be over.

Park City businesses weren't sure what to expect after last year, said Mike Lindbloom, who with wife Barb has owned and operated the Main Street Deli for the past 25 years.

"Everybody was leery. But [this ski season] turned out better than we anticipated."

Vacationers have changed spending habits since the bottom fell out of the financial market 18 months ago, according to Bill Malone, the executive director of the Park City Chamber of Commerce and Visitor's Bureau.

"I've talked to people who experienced" an uptick in business, he said. "But I've talked to a lot of people who didn't."

Visitors on ski vacations continue to buy lift tickets, but in a down economy they don't spend as freely on eating and shopping, Malone explained.

"The [rebounding stock] market has helped, but there is still a little bit of a gut-check when it comes to vacation spending."

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Work Underway to Make Timpanogos Cave Safer

Timpanogos Cave National Monument is a popular cave system near Provo in northern Utah. KSL has this report on work to remove a rock overhang above the cave exit. Below are excerpts.

The operation is intended to eliminate the risk that the slab will fall on visitors near the cave's exit. Part of the overhang is directly above the cave's sheltered exit.

Officials at Timpanogos Cave National Monument wanted to make sure the blasting is done before the cave opens for the season on May 8.

Cave officials are also planning to build a new set of stairs and a sturdier roof near the cave's exit.

The National Park Service says the caves and cave trail will open on Saturday May 8, 2010 for the season. Please note the caves and cave trail will be closed June 2-3, 2010 for trail maintenance.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Hiking Delicate Arch and Southern Utah's Open Country

Where do you go if you want to show people scenery that is uniquely Utah? That's the question I faced as I entertained guests who had heard about Utah's red rock country, but had never seen it for themselves. They wanted to get out and see some of the sights but had limited time for exploration.

I choose Moab and we had a great time hiking in Arches National Park. I showed them Delicate Arch – a natural wonder that has become an a Utah icon – and then we explored the park's remote Klondike Bluffs region. They couldn't stop talking about the beauty of the land and they vowed to return soon.

Conditions were perfect for a an open desert hike. The air temperature reached into the high 70s F, plenty warm but not hot. The sky was azure blue and beautiful above the red sandstone.

The park was a popular destination that weekend and we met dozens of people along the trail to Delicate Arch. We talked with people from Japan and Australia and France and Italy, along with folks from various US states. Interacting with a variety of people is an enjoyable aspect of visiting popular areas in Utah national parks.

In contrast, the Klondike Bluffs area was uncrowded. There were a few cars in the parking log and we passed other hikers now and then, but for the most part we hiked alone. That was also enjoyable.

The scenery, the rock and sand, is different in the Klondike area than in other parts of the park. There are impressive arches, the trademark feature in the park – but there also other scenic features. On this trip we didn't have time to search out all of the area's treasures and so I'm hungry for more. I'll go back sometime soon and get photos of its unique attractions.

I've spent my entire life wandering around southern Utah, and I'm glad to know there are still new sites for me to see.

Summer temperatures get very hot in the Moab area. As summer sets in, hikers in Arches will do best taking short treks during the cooler morning hours. At that time, I shift my focus and do most of my hiking in the shaded canyons and along waterways, avoiding open country where the force of the sun can become oppressive.

Right now the open country beckons. During the next few weeks, conditions will be perfect for exploring the sun kissed open country in southern Utah.

- Dave Webb

Friday, April 16, 2010

Utah Cities Rank High In Forbes List of Best Places For Business and Careers

Provo ranks number 2 in Forbes Magazine's annual list of best US cities for business and careers. Ogden is number 11 and Salt Lake City is number 20. Des Moines Iowa tops the list.

Forbes gave this description of its criteria: “Our ranking of Best Places looks at the 200 largest metropolitan statistical areas in the U.S., which range in size from the New York City metro, with 11.7 million people, to Merced, Calif., home to 245,000. We ranked areas on 12 metrics including costs (business and living), job growth (past and projected), income growth, educational attainment and projected economic growth.

We also factored in quality-of-life issues like crime, cultural and recreational opportunities as well as net migration patters. Lastly we examined the percentage of subprime mortgages handed out over a three-year stretch and the number of highly ranked four-year colleges in the area, per our annual college rankings.” See the full Forbes article.

Forbes said the Utah Cities all have "reasonable business costs, strong economic outlooks and a solid quality of life."

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Utah's Little-Known Sand Dunes

Sand dunes are popular play spots, especially for people with dune buggies and ATVs. Utah has two famous sand dune areas:
- Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park
- Little Sahara Recreational Area

But we have much more sand that that. The Daily Herald has this article about the White Wash Sand Dunes near the town of Green River. We also have popular dunes in the areas listed below, and minor dunes in many other spots.
- Snow Canyon State Park
- Sand Hollow State Park
- Monument Valley
- Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument
- Lake Powell

Below are excerpts from the Herald article.

The White Wash Sand Dunes are located off Interstate 70 in between Green River and the exit to Moab. Travel only 11 miles on a dirt road and you find yourself at a ridge overlooking an exciting view of slickrock and sand. Smaller sand dunes comingle with rolling slabs of slickrock. This is a great place for jeeps to play.

There are some other major differences between the White Wash Sand Dunes and the other major dunes that people should know about before they pack up and head out. The White Wash Sand Dunes are free; there isn't an entrance fee to get into the dunes. They do not have facilities for you to use. Therefore, you have to bring your own method of waste disposal; burying your waste is not permissable. The White Wash Sand Dunes are much smaller than the other two dunes areas, but at the same time they don't see nearly as much traffic.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Utah Kicks off Tourism Ad Campaign

Utah has kicked off its summer tourism campaign, which includes TV spots in key markets. Marketers have added a new dimension this year, hoping to convince people that vacationing in Utah can make you healthier. KSL TV has this report. Below are excerpts.

The state is spending $2.4 million on this advertising effort, 80 percent of that on television spots. Tourism leaders say that investment reaps millions more in visits from out of the state and out of the country.

In marketing, it's all about visuals and humor and having a story to tell.

Tourism leaders with the state think they've got all that in the ads with a bright-red, old-school SUV overloaded with gear, their symbol for plenty to do in one of America's most beautiful states.

The governor kicked off the state's summer ad campaign Tuesday, with a new emphasis on how vacationing in Utah can make you healthier.

"We have more hiking trails, more places to walk and recreate, to make yourself get outdoors, become robust, get that blush back in your cheeks, get a little suntan on your forehead, and become healthier and enjoy a healthy lifestyle," Herbert said.

There's a renewed emphasis on Utah's state parks and other things to do.

"You know, one of the great secrets that we are now trying to make un-kept is the great golf venues we have in this state," Herbert said.

The Deseret News has this report. Below are excerpts.

The first thing you notice about the red Jeep Wagoneer is how it is overloaded with virtually every item an outdoor enthusiast could possibly use.

The as-yet-unnamed road trip party vehicle — carrying bicycles, water skis, golf clubs, a canoe, coolers, tents, sleeping bags and a bunch of other stuff — remains one of the centerpieces in the Utah Office of Tourism's spring and summer marketing campaign.

The $2.4 million national advertising campaign officially launched Tuesday at the Capitol.

"Last year, our non-winter campaign … generated over 800,000 visitors into our state and resulted in $56 million of additional tax revenue," Gov. Gary Herbert told the audience in the Capitol rotunda Tuesday. "So, for every dollar we've invested, we get about $18 in return."

"Our messaging is resonating," she (Leigh von der Esch, managing director of the Utah Office of Tourism) said. "Everything you want to do is so close by. You can get to the national parks so quickly. You can do five in a week. Our state parks have fabulous value and (there are also) the rodeos and the community events."

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Utah's National Park Fees Being Waived

Entrance fees will be waived at Utah's five national parks from April 17 through the 25th, as part of National Parks Week. Fees will also be waived at other US national parks. Details.

Visitors who plan to remain in the park beyond April 25 will still have to pay the fee for the remainder of their stay. The fee waiver applies only to entrance fees and does not affect fees for camping, tunnel escorts or backcountry permit fees.

People visiting the parks need to be aware of these two news items:

1 - Zion National Park road construction will cause delays on Hwy 9 below the tunnel. More details.

2 - Bryce Canyon Navajo Loop Trail section is closed because of a rock slide. More details.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Utah State Parks Program Helps Families Play Outdoors

Utah's state parks have a program underway to help families and kids learn to enjoy outdoor recreation. Events are held on Saturdays, beginning April 17 with a photography filed trip at Antelope Island. Many topics will be considered over the summer, with activities at various parks around the state.

State Parks provided the info below. Here's more info about the program.

Rockin' Utah
Reaching Out Connecting Kids In Nature
... It's Family Fun Outdoors 101!

Would you and your family or friends like to play outdoors more but just aren't sure where to start? Let us show you how!

If you've ever wanted to go fishing, hiking, biking, camping, wildlife viewing, kite flying, boating, or history exploring, now is the time to start!

No experience preferred!

Here is this year's Rockin Utah schedule.

Space for these programs is limited so pre-registration is required. For more information call (801) 537-3123 or email

Thursday, April 08, 2010

Ogden Makes List of Best Places To Live

Men's Journal lists Ogden, Utah, as one of the best places to live, in this article in its April, 2010 issue. Below are excerpts.

Ogden isn't just another town blessed with world-class adventure on its doorstep. This once run-down railroad town has a government sponsored mandate to grown around adrenaline sports. “The goal of Ogden is to become the capital of high-adventure recreation,” says Mayor Mathew Godfrey.

Within five minutes of downtown is rock climbing, access to more than a hundred miles of trails, plus two whitewater kayak parks. Just a 20-minute drive up canyon, Snowbasin offers all the famed powder of Utah's Wasatch resorts without Colorado's famed lift lines.

When orthopedic surgeon and mountain-bike fanatic Dan Byck was weighing the options on where to move his practice from Washington State, Ogden topped the list. “Most desirable places have too many doctors who do what I do, but there was still a chance to get in early here,” he says.

Wednesday, April 07, 2010

Moab Search and Rescue Prepares for Busy Spring

The Daily Sentinel in Grand Junction, Colorado, has this interesting article about search and rescue in the Moab area. Below are excerpts.

Search and rescue members practice all year to respond to a variety of calls, but the spring season tends to be the busiest. Team members can all but forget about making weekend plans as calls for help are most likely to come during the evening and on the weekend — Saturdays, Fridays and Sundays, in that order.

“It’s the law of averages,” said George “Bego” Gerhart, acting commander of the county’s search operations. “When the skiing gets bad, here they come. It’s like they’re here the first day it warms up.”

Search and rescue workers pluck base jumpers off dizzying ledges every year. They respond when riders of ATVs and motorcycles roll over and when canyoneers find themselves in sticky situations. Calls come in from weary hikers on trails after dark, too tired and too thirsty to make it back. Broken ankles and legs are common.

The Moab-based group handles about 100 calls a year, the most of any search and rescue agency in Utah, members say.

Unlike the majority of volunteer search and rescue crews, Grand County search and rescue recently converted to a pay system for its rescue operations. Workers are paid on a hourly basis per mission. County officials determined the area’s tax base could not absorb all the costs of its relatively large numbers of missions.

Just for searchers to get out the door, those being rescued can expect to be billed $1,275. To be carried out of somewhere by litter or a rescue basket with a wheel, for example, will cost an additional $800.

Other charges apply for the various pieces of equipment needed for rescue, which can be one or any number of ATVs, jet skis, rafts, ropes, trucks and snowmobiles. A command center or trailer can be used as a base for dispatchers during lengthy operations.

Families of the deceased, however, are not billed for the recovery of bodies.

Having to pay to be rescued is a controversial topic among search and rescue agencies, because sometimes people delay calling for help because they are trying to avoid a charge.

“Then they realize they have to call or die,” Gerhart said.

Regardless, workers say money is not a motivating factor and they preferred doing the work as volunteers.

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

Ski Conditions are Great Thanks To Recent Storms

Snowbird is reporting 30 inches of new snow in the last 48 hours, and more than 4 feet new during the past week. Snow will continue off and on today and then we should see sunshine for a few days.

The abundant snow has created great ski conditions at Utah resorts. Skiers and riders say conditions are like mid-winter – far better than average for this stage in the season.

Ski Utah offers this information:

"Just like last year, April is providing some of the best conditions we’ve seen all year," said (Snowbird) resort president Bob Bonar. "With this deep snowpack we expect to offer skiing and riding well into May, continuing our tradition of offering the longest season in Utah." Snowbird's projected closing date is Memorial Day, weather permitting.

Skiers and riders who want to extend their season can take advantage of a number of deals. Snowbird is offering a Spring Pass for $299 that is good thru the end of the 2009/10 season and discounted $62 Tram and chair tickets beginning April 12. Lodging packages, including Stay and Ski packages with Powder Perks discounts, for $99 per person/double occupancy, can be found at

Most Utah resorts are still open. Some offer skiing through this weekend, some through April 18, and Snowbird plans to have lifts operating on Memorial Day. See projected closing dates. See our ski packages for great late-season deals.

Avalanche danger is high in backcountry areas. Avalanche control work reduces risks at developed ski resorts and along highways. People venturing into the backcountry should check conditions and advisories on the Utah Avalanche Center website.

A snowmobiler died in an avalance last Sunday. KSL has this info:

Morgan County Deputy Sheriff Derek Engstrom says 43-year-old Lee Gardner was riding with a friend in the northwestern part of the county Sunday when a slide on Francis Peak buried him.

Gardner's friend dug him out and called for help, but a medical helicopter crew could not find a pulse when they arrived and he was pronounced dead an hour later.

The avalanche occurred just below the Francis Radar Station on the mountain. Engstrom says the avalanche is believed to have started because of human activity.

Monday, April 05, 2010

Winter Storm Bears Down on Utah

A cold, winter-like storm is expected to hit the Salt Lake City area this afternoon, dropping significant snow in valleys. The storm has prompted the National Weather Service to issue a storm warning, which will remain in effect until 6 pm Tuesday.

KSL's weather service predicts the storm will hit about 2:30 pm today. This is from the KSL report:

The bulls eye for greatest snowfall will be Davis and Salt Lake County (with the bench areas possibly receiving up to or even over 12 inches by Tuesday afternoon. This is a serious winter storm that will disrupt travel through the mountains and cause near blizzard conditions over mountain passes, and finally it will be a morning commute problem for the Wasatch Front on Tuesday. By the middle and end of the week, expect a warm up and a drying trend. We'll actually see temperatures over 60 degrees by Friday!

Read the full KSL report.

We give the text of the national weather service statement below:

507 AM MDT MON APR 5 2010



Friday, April 02, 2010

National Park Week is April 17-25

Entrance fees will be waived during National Park Week, April 17-25. Camping and other fees will still be charged. The park service provided this information:

To make it easier to experience America's Great Outdoors, the National Park Service is waiving entrance fees, so visitors can enjoy all 392 national parks for free April 17-25.

In addition, many national park concessionaires are offering special promotions that are certain to add to your fun.

Utah has 5 national parks, 7 national monuments, 2 national recreation areas and 1 National Historic Site, as shown below.

- Zion National Park
- Bryce Canyon National Park
- Arches National Park
- Canyonlands National Park
- Capitol Reef National Park
- Glen Canyon National Recreation Area (Lake Powell)
- Flaming Gorge National Recreation Area
- Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument
- Hovenweep National Monument
- Cedar Breaks National Monument
- Natural Bridges National Monument
- Rainbow Bridge National Monument
- Dinosaur National Monument
- Golden Spike National Historic Site

Timpanogos Cave National Monument does not open until May, so it will not be affected.

Thursday, April 01, 2010

Tower Bridge, A London Landmark, Coming to Utah?

London's Daily Mail chose Utah to figure prominently in this April Fools Day article, which is now being picked up as breaking news on websites around the world.

It's a pretty good story, with a Utah billionaire buying London's Tower Bridge, intending to move it to St George to be the focal point of a new theme park named “Cruel Britannia”, a reconstruction of “medieval” London complete with high-speed thrill rides.

The article included the photo above, showing the bridge photoshopped into a Moab landscape, suggesting that is how it might look in St George.

Below are excerpts from the article.

It is one of the most iconic landmarks in a city of iconic landmarks, and a glorious relic of the Victorian age. But – in a move likely to enrage Londoners and stun the rest of Britain – Tower Bridge will vanish from the capital’s skyline later this year, sold to an American billionaire who plans to use it as the centrepiece of an ‘English theme park’.

Mr Horwendill, 47, a former cattle rancher who has made his fortune in nuclear waste disposal, teenage beauty pageants and productions of Andrew Lloyd Webber musicals, is said to have been inspired to buy Tower Bridge after visiting Arizona, where the structure’s onetime neighbour London Bridge is set up as a tourist site.

London Bridge was sold to Missourian oil magnate Robert McCulloch in 1968 at a cost of US$2.46million (£1.63million), and shipped piece by piece over the ocean. The bridge is now the star attraction at Lake Havasu City, where it sits in retirement by the lake of the same name, alongside a cluster of ‘Tudor-themed’ shops and restaurants.

However, controversy has long been attached to the purchase of London Bridge, with popular legend suggesting that Mr McCulloch had intended to buy Tower Bridge rather than its flatter, more mundane colleague – and had confused the two structures.

Gordon Brown has so far refused to make any comment on the matter, but the Queen was said to “really have the face on, ooh she was livid” when informed of the sale.

Wider protests are also being planned. Contacted by TravelMail, Simon Fleance of the organisation Keep Tower Bridge British ( commented: “This is the most appalling act of treachery since Macbeth murdered King Duncan. There is absolutely no way – no way on God’s beautiful earth – that we will allow these grimy-fingered colonials to come here and steal the greatest construction since the Tower Of Babel. Mark my words. This is cultural violence in the extreme.”
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